Welcome all you English Curlers to the start of a new exciting season where the only thing you can be 100% certain of is that the faults and mistakes you made on the ice last season will all be back to haunt you at some time in the months to come!
I will start at the end (which is about right for me) of last season, and firstly congratulate Team England Seniors who went up to Dumfries for the WCF seniors and also our Mixed Doubles team at the same venue for the WCF mixed doubles Championship. All three teams had a lot of support and enjoyed a great competition in two wonderfully well organised events, in superb surroundings and with playing conditions of the highest quality. Congratulations and thanks to all who provided, supported and played. A special mention must go to our Senior Men, who were robbed of a place in the semi-finals by an unfortunate pick up in the seventh end against Hugh Millikins Australian team, after playing superbly all week. Perhaps reward enough that England Senior men are now ranked higher than their Scottish counterparts in the WCF rankings.
To the upcoming season, and the big news is that after years of endeavour, we have two imminent new facilities available for curling in England. One at The Fylde Ice Arena on the outskirts of Blackpool, and also Stephen Hinds’ proposed new rink (Bracknell) will go before the Planning Committee late October with a recommendation for approval.
Fylde Ice Arena already has stones, thanks to Gail Munro at Stranraer, and all the necessary equipment to prepare the ice and actually play – they even have actual circles marked under the ice. We are now in the process, in conjunction with Preston CC members, of organising coaches for some come and try days and coaching sessions. When the time is right, it is hoped that we will have a big opening event to highlight Curling at Fylde, and look forward to as many ECA Members attending and playing as possible. I know Stephen Hinds is all set to progress Bracknell as soon as the green light is given and we all look forward to supporting and playing at both venues in the very near future.
The Duncan Stewart Memorial takes place at Kinross 18/19th October with Preston CC’s I’Anson Trophy on the 14/16th November. Both weekends have been well subscribed and I am looking forward to enjoying both the company and curling at both. As you will all be aware the Four Nations is being hosted by the ECA in Kent in January, all contributions of players, assistance and anything else you can think of gratefully accepted by Allison Arthur and her team of helpers.
There are reports from the WCF assembly in Reno and on the other ECA competitions I will close with thanks to all the other ECA members both on and off council, who give their time and effort to Curling in England and for their contributions to the content and production of this Newsletter. It is much appreciated by all. And a personal thanks to all members who have express their good wishes to me during my recent little health issue. The Grim Reaper and I had a little chat and I convinced him that I needed a bit more practice down here first before going to play in The Big Ice Rink in the sky. I hope I am going there, because there will be no decent Ice in the other venue.
My hopes to you all are for another great season of curling both on and off the Ice.